Terrariums were originally invented to transport living plants from far away places when voyages took months or even years. Terrariums were carried by Captain Cook on his voyages around the world and by Captain Bligh on the voyage of the Bounty. Today''s terrariums are mostly decorative in nature, but they still allow you to have a garden which can be maintained for long periods of time with a minimum amount of attention.
Having a terrarium of your own is easy. The first step is to choose a container for your terrarium. Most terrariums are planted in containers without drainage holes. Glass bubble bowls, bottles, fish tanks, and brandy snifters are commonly used for containers.
Line the bottom of the container with one-half inch of charcoal. This will help to keep the soil fresh and sweet smelling. Next add one and one-half inches of professional, soilless potting soil. Be sure to moisten the soil first and then put it into the container.
Now you are ready to add the plants. Remove most of the soil from the roots and then plant the plants using your hands or a spoon.
After the plants are in place, a final mulch or ground carpeting of florist's sheet moss will complete the scene. If there is space in your terrarium, you can add shallow container of water to serve as a pond.
Use a mister of clear water to settle the roots and remove the soil particles from the leaves and sides of the container. Be careful not to add too much water or you'll have a floating garden!
Terrariums do best in bright, indirect light. Sun shining directly on the glass for more than an hour is likely to steam-cook the plant.
If the soil appears dry, if no moisture droplets form on the inside, or if the plants appear lackluster and droopy, add a little water.
Keep the plants well groomed and remove yellowing leaves before the have the opportunity to rot. Watch for any disease or fungus. Once rot, or disease, gets started it may move quickly to healthy leaves and shoots.
Terrariums make great gifts!